Kobe on Lakers: ‘Seasons like this are what make championships worth it’

Lakers legend Kobe Bryant said the team must be patient as it tries to add talent.

If it was easy, everyone would be doing it. Things have been anything but easy for LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers this season, but these times of struggle are what makes the ultimate reward that much more satisfying.

So says Lakers legend Kobe Bryant.

On an appearance on ESPN’s “Get Up” with Mike Greenberg, Bryant offered his advice for James as he completes his 16th NBA season, which will conclude with him not playing in the postseason for the first time after 13 consecutive appearances.

“You just gotta keep pushing,” Bryant said. “Seasons like this are what make the championships worth it.”

With the Lakers (30-41 entering a game against the visiting Brooklyn Nets on Friday night at Staples Center) set to make the playoffs for a sixth consecutive season, Bryant pointed to injuries as the biggest reason for Los Angeles’ many struggles this season.

“It was unfortunate because it got hit with so many injuries in rapid succession,” he said. “When they were rolling, I mean, they were playing very well, I think exceeding people’s expectations.

“But then they got hit with all these injuries. Kind of set ’em back, knocked them off-kilter a little bit. It’s hard to reboot that and so now they get caught in that rut. But next year should be better.”

Bryant said Lakers president Magic Johnson and genera manager Rob Pelinka must use patience as they attempt to surround James with the help he needs as he heads to his age-35 season. Entering the game against the Nets on Friday night, the Lakers were on a four-game skid and had dropped nine of their last 10 games.

“It’s just a matter of being patient,” Bryant said. “Obviously, they’ll make smart decisions. You have opportunities, things, pieces that you can trade, assets of that sort, or you can stay with the young guys who are extremely talented and have great upside and let them develop.

“Either direction you go should be a good direction.”